back to article Microsoft finally debuts Euro-choose-a-browser screen

Microsoft has unveiled its EU-mandated Web browser choice screen, and will start rolling it out next week. Redmond's deputy general counsel Dave Heiner warned Explorer users "what to expect", in a not at all grudging blog posting. He said the design and operation of the screen "was worked out in the course of extensive …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    and Cue Opera moaning about something....maybe that i.e should have a yellow icon instead of blue and that the Opera logo doesn't look good enough...oh wait...

    1. oddie

      What happened to Netscape Navigator?

      It's true that Opera 'moans' about things quite often, and its also true how often those moans lead to better products for all of us (Not just Opera Users).

      Remember IE6? After Microsoft had pushed Netscape (remember them?) out of the competition and ruled supreme over the world wide web, guess what they did? Nothing. IE6 sat on its arse for years, no inovation, no progress. You know why? they had no competition.

      Maybe you use IE8 now, maybe you don't (firefox, chrome or safari maybe, probably not opera seeing as your post doesn't exactly raise them into the heavens), but if you look at the top of your browser I bet you can see tabs. And I bet it even supports transparent PNG images. who knows, it may even be somewhat standard compliant.

      And do you know WHY your browser has this? I'll give you a hint: it's not because microsoft was able to leverage the inherent savings in being a market leader: It's because Firefox, Opera and Safari started kicking their arse (Assuming that your using one of the IE browsers).

      So yes, Opera 'moans' whenever something seems off in the browsers world, which I for one am thankful for :)

      Lets hope we never return to the 'golden years' of IE6 again ;)

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

        Actually . . .

        Given Opera's ~1% desktop market share, I'd say Microsoft's decision to develop IE 7 and 8 can be squarely attributed to the success of Firefox, with Chrome adding some Johnny-come-lately pressure these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          ...nearly all the useful features in IE, FF, Chrome, Safari, et al were all copied from Opera. Were it not for Opera actually bothering to develop this stuff we'd still be stuck somewhere around IE6. Opera innovate the rest just copy.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      And cue moaners moaning over things they don't understand. How come those who whine about Opera are always the biggest whiners themselves?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    About time!

    About time! Shame they had to include Chrome and Safari.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The problem with the issue.. stupid politicians sticking their noses in.

    Still if it keeps them happy or-dare I hope-lessens the sound of whining from the other browser fans then I suppose it's achieved something.

  4. Benny

    Nice idea

    but couldn't this be a security issue?

    I mean, if a user chooses a different browser, and they arent exactly computer literate, won't they assume that running windows update is going to update their chosen browser as well?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't be silly

      They'll assume the software on their system never needs to be updated because it works just fine the way it is and "the man" just wants to trick them into doing things differently because all IT people are autistic and insist that you do completely pointless things like read error messages or shutdown your computer properly.

    2. Da Weezil


      In my experience Both Opera and Firefox notify the user with a pop up when they release updates, and don't wait till the "patch cycle" comes round to do it. I would assume Safari is the same if I-tunes is anything to go by.. cant say about Chrome.. theres enough Google in the world already without me adding to it.

    3. Raumkraut

      Browser updates

      AFAIK all the listed browsers (excepting IE, due to it being handled by Windows update) will alert the user and/or automatically update themselves when new releases are available.

  5. censored

    I'd go further...

    In fact, those users who have the automatic updates patching without them doing anything are the ones who left it on by default. They're the ones who won't know, care or understand what other browsers are for. This is a shitty system, just as they've got used to a new Windows along comes this dialog and messes it up for them.

    I hope it re-pins their choice back to the taskbar and imports all their bookmarks and set their homepage WITHOUT PROMPTING, else it's going to cause a lot of problems for low-end users. Most will just want to go back to what they know - and finding it 5th on the list is going to be another confusion. They might end up with Opera, which is a totally different experience to the one they've had.

    Hell, even my dad - a retired electronics expert with 40 years work behind him - doesn't know what a browser is. He phoned me last week trying to get a neighbours machine to work. "The internet won't load up". He meant Internet Explorer. When I suggested he put Firefox on, he said that "They use Sky as their internet and that's on Internet Explorer". He meant was their default homepage.

    I like the idea, but the execution stinks. And it should only be rolled out to new installations.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most of the time...

    People dont even know what the hell a browser is:

  7. Barry Tabrah

    This had better be opt-out corporately

    We don't want any of your browsers here. We're a local government, for local employees. We dictate what software is used and where.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You're a corporate and you allow your users to run automatic updates? My you must have a fat pipe to the internet. Shirley you're at least running WSUS to handle the updates? WSUS, of course, allows you to choose which updates your EUs get. As do any of the (much better) third party patch management solutions.

      Of course if you allow your users to run automatic updates, or indeed to do it manually, then you deserve everything you get. And hopefully get everything you deserve. You'll be telling me next you don't test patches before you deploy them.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Proof that MS have a sense of humour after all..

    Safari... le giggle...

  9. Bear Features
    Thumb Down


    Obviously the EU, who were worried about consumer choice and Microsoft forcing us to use IE... right? Yes, obviously the EU who were so worried about it and were NOT using MS as a cash cow, now they will go after Apple for the same thing, right?

    Political bullshit, all of it.

    1. Steven Knox


      The pure definition of monopoly is 100% ownership of a market. The current legal and political definition is a large enough market share to direct the market in spite of competitors' opposition. Usually this means over 80%, often over 90% market share.

      Microsoft has this in the OS market. Apple does not. Microsoft gets regulated. Apple does not.

      I appreciate that you titled your post "Rubbish" to warn other readers off of it, but it really would have been better not to post it at all.

      1. Justabloke 1


        Er... by your own definition Microsoft don't have a monopoly in the OS market.... unless of ocurse those users with Macs or linus desktops are being fooled and really do have MS products.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        To add to what Steven said...

        @Bear Features: Apple haven't interwoven their browser into the OS unnecessarily to leverage that dominant position in a bid to control the web either, have they?! Apple got caught trying to foist Safari onto unwitting iTunes users on Windows, and rightly got a bollocking for it! Honesty; "Boo-hoo! Poor little Microsoft got caught cheating and are being punished and big (HA!), mean, nasty Apple aren't! Boo-hoo s'not fair!" Grow up!

  10. adnim

    A single step in the right direction

    Now how about a choice of media player, email client, instant messenger or indeed anything else that isn't part of the core OS. And why not options to set up online services such as mail, search, storage and browser home page to something other than the MS defaults during install. Yes it would confuse the hell out of the complete novice, but isn't that what help files are for to alleviate confusion and inform.

    MS use their dominance of the desktop OS market to push every other service and product they sell, with no mention of alternatives or consumer choice. I don't like it at all, and because of my dislike of this practice they should desist immediately. I would be only to happy to tell them what they could and couldn't do with their OS. ;-) It's only fair, after all they have been trying to control what I do with Windows and how I use it for as long as I can remember.

    1. Rob Moir

      pushing your own service

      "MS use their dominance of the desktop OS market to push every other service and product they sell, with no mention of alternatives or consumer choice."

      I don't recall many adverts for Windows Live popping up during the install the last time I set up Ubuntu Failing Ferret or whatever its called this month.

    2. Goat Jam


      "Now how about a choice of media player, email client, instant messenger"

      Indeed. In fact, while we are at it how about a choice of the actual OS? Why are MS allowed to bully the world + dog into purchasing their products in the first place?

      Why does the EU only concern themselves with this nonsense about browser choice when the underlying problem continues to go unaddressed?

  11. Colin Millar

    Lawyers win again

    This all shows just how relevant the EU is.

    A decision that no-one cares about on an issue that no-one cares about (apart from a few fanbois) and which will make no difference whatsoever to a single human life.

    The EU only exists so that lawyers and politicians can make money.

    1. Red Bren

      Self esteem issues?

      You care enough to comment. Do you think you're a nobody? Have a pint!

  12. Rod MacLean
    Gates Horns

    One minute

    Shurely this should also be presented to people who buy a new machine with Windows pre-installed?

    ...or do they have to sit through numerous updates until this one is downloaded for them?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Unbundle Windows!

    Enough of these shenanigans, EU! The only way to have choice in the retail sector (and thus any choice in the applications) is to unbundle the operating system from all computers sold. Sure: give people the *option* of having something preinstalled, but actively fine anyone and everyone who says that Windows plus subsidising crapware is "part of the device" and has to be bundled.

    1. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      Do what??

      Yeah, I'm sure the hardware manufacturers love the idea of selling bare kit then having to field call after call from poor users trying to install operating systems!

      They PREFER a single OS choice as it makes their lives easier, they get to sell turnkey systems, and even make a bit on the side bundling guff no-one really wants but might be persuaded to buy anyway...

      1. Goat Jam

        OEMS are idiots

        They've allowed MS to commoditize the industrys hardware products while retaining a premium price on their own and now they are stuck with competing with each other on price because basically all of the PC's on the shelves are the same as each other sans the badge on the front. (apple excepted)

        Every year PC's get cheaper and every year MS software doesn't.

        There is a reason that MS has a "no changes to the user interface allowed" clause on all their OEM contracts. They knew full well that if HP went and gave their PC's a "HP look and feel" that Microsoft would lose the "brand advantage" and it would leave the door open for OEMs to make their own OS offerings (or modify existing OSS products) that had the same "look and feel" as their old customized Windows products.

        So MS said, "No, you won't be doing that" and the manufacturers, as always, bent over and took it rather than risk having to pay a few extra dollars for whatever crap Redmond was pushing at them that week.

        Now these idiot companies are all left with flogging crappy, built-to-a-price knock offs that are virtually indistinguishable from their competitors crap while MS makes obscene amounts of money and can increase their prices at will. And the OEMS don't have a choice other than "break out the lube and drop those trousers" every time MS chooses to do so. If they are indeed "happy" about that state of affairs then they deserve everything they get.

        As for being happy only having to support one OS, well, all I can say is if they had any cahones whatsoever they would never have allowed themselves to get in a position where they are DOING SUPPORT FOR ANOTHER COMPANIES PRODUCT in the first place. Yeah, yeah, I know the OEM price is "cheaper" because they do the support themselves. I also know that Jewellers shops are in a state of "Sale! 50% OFF) every week.

        Getting something "cheaper" from someone who can dictate whatever price does not equal good value.

        Fail for the OEMs of the world.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do what??

        Please try to read *every* word of comments you're responding to, like the bit which says "give people the *option* of having something preinstalled". Please also note that Windows isn't necessarily ready to use when starting a newly purchased machine, either - it has to do various initialisation things - and I imagine that this doesn't go unnoticed by a certain proportion of customers.

        And since when did any vendor really offer great support for Windows? Most of the Windows experience is pushing you directly to when you are "troubleshooting": a wizard opens, you fill out the fields, it tells you it can't help and crashes. Meanwhile, the ridiculously short warranty means that for many people the vendor has already washed their hands of any kind of support at all by the time stuff really goes south. The vendor-branded "rescue disk" - not even a proper OS disk because Microsoft thinks you might be a "pirate" - might not even work by the time you need it.

        And in fact, the retailer is always the first port of call for any kind of sales and warranty issues, which is what this is: that's enshrined in consumer legislation in Europe, contradicting the "call the manufacturer" shit that the average electrical retailer will come out with when you have any kind of problem. So why not have any problems handled by the retailer, anyway? If you regret your choice of OS, just take the computer back and have something installed on it. They could even offer this as a service, just like some retailers offer the service of uninstalling the crapware foisted on consumers right now. At least the former kind of service is honest and transparent, not like a car dealership selling you a vehicle and you then having to go back and pay them to unblock the opening to the petrol tank.

        So, all this would take is to offer people the choice and for that choice to be upheld, not to allow creative accounting tricks to be used against the purchaser by forcing crapware on everyone because it suits the vendor and Microsoft.

  14. James Le Cuirot

    Additional browsers?

    Does anyone know what these additional browsers are? One is most likely SeaMonkey. The only others I can think of are real oddball browers (like Amaya) or reskins of the main browers.

  15. Jim 59


    But hold on, where's Netscape ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too late

    You can't retrospectively ask people what browser they want bundled with their system, after they've already been using Internet Explorer for months, removing IE shortcuts that they may have genuinely wanted (hey, some people are that stupid).

    Microsoft has given people time to get used to IE's many failings and now they think it's the best they can get, in much the same way that PC World shoppers end up thinking Norton Antivirus is good. (because, hey, they paid £x,xxx for this system and PC World wouldn't give them sub standard software!).

    Even worse, someone is going to install a new browser (at random), botch the import of their settings, then complain that the new browser is a piece of crap because it doesn't log them into Facebook automatically, and never try any other browser ever again.

    Though I am glad that this ballot screen has been introduced, because there is a tiny chance it will prompt some people to ditch IE, but 0 chance that it will effect me, because I don't run IE as default on the Windows installation I don't have.


    browser screen selection

    ok i have windows 7 on my pc upstairs at the moment and its been doing pretty well since i installed it. but it came with internet explorer preinstalled so i cant remove it if i do remove it and use naother browser some sites might not work. example some update sites like windows update etc which is really stupid.

    1. Al Jones

      Crawl back under your rock

      FFS, Windows Update hasn't relied on Internet Explorer since Vista was released, over 3 years ago.

      There are hundreds of millions of people (including me), using Firefox as their primary browser on Windows 7. It works just fine, and it's not actually necessary to uninstall IE8 to make Firefox work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Al Jones

        > "There are hundreds of millions of people (including me), using Firefox as their primary browser on Windows 7"

        Hundreds of millions? So that's, what, every single Windows 7 user + at least 20 million Windows 7 users that don't even exist.

        "Microsoft will sell approximately 180 million copies of Windows 7 by the end of 2010 is the forecast IDC offered "

        Next time you feel like pulling a figure out of your ass it might be helpful to do a Google search first.

      2. Chris Shaw


        Some people are upgrading from XP which used the browser for updates.

        Just because you had Vista, doesn't mean everyone else is upgrading from that.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          If they're upgrading to Windows 7

          what fucking difference does XP's update method make?

          The browser update is only for Windows 7.

          Are you really as stupid as your post sounds?

  18. Dave 135

    Can someone explain...

    why Apple aren't forced to do this as well? I think the whole issue is slightly ludicrous and I'm a Mac user myself but in the interests of fairness surely all pay-for OS's should be included, not just Windows.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      We've been through this on here so many times it's getting boring.

      Apple do not have an effective monopoly. Apple do not use one product to try to tie people into buying others. For example many MS server products only give you their full, rich (ahem!) functionality when used with IE. Why would this be then? To force people to buy their desktop OS in order to access applications running on their server OS, of course. That's what's known as abusing a monopoly. Something MS do and Apple don't.

      Futhermore Apple have not attempted to inteweave their browser into the OS to prevent it being uninstalled.

    2. chr0m4t1c


      Because MS were found to be operating a monopoly.

      Despite the disproportionate amount of press coverage they get here, Apple have a very small market share and when this all kicked off (a good few years ago now) MS had something like 85-90% of the browser "market".

      This gave two problems primarily:

      1) Companies like Opera who produce paid for software were being pushed out of business.

      2) Websites were starting to be written as "IE only", meaning we were gradually shifting towards an MS-only web.

      Thanks largely to Mozilla/FireFox, Opera and to a certain extent Safari, the market has started to even out a bit more, but if it hadn't you would probably find you were unable to use a lot of websites with Safari and also not be able to get IE for anything other than Windows; meaning you could either be a Mac owner or a Web user, but not both.

      1. Bear Features

        what planet?

        "Apple do not use one product to try to tie people into buying others."

        That's exactly what the iPad is. :o)

        Ever heard of iTunes? Tell me how I can use my Mac and iPod but without iTunes.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Can you buy different MP3 Players? Yes! Can you buy s different SCC? Yes! Do Apple have more than 90% share of any of the markets you mention? No! Fuck off then!

          "Tell me how I can use my Mac and iPod but without iTunes." You can use 'your' mac without iTunes! There are PLENTY of other media managers and players out there, and most of them are free too! As for the iPod, can the Zune sync with anything other than Microsoft products? How is any of this at all related? It. Fucking. Isn't.

          Beer: I need one while reading stuff like this!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Ever heard of iTunes? Tell me how I can use my Mac and iPod but without iTunes."

          You chose to buy a Mac and an iPod then you object to iTunes? You, sir, are nothing more or less than a fucktard. Nobody forced you to buy an iPod to go with your Mac. Your analogy falls appart right there. What the EU are objecting to is the heretofore Microsoft *have* forced Windows users to install IE.

          1. Anonymous Coward


            Seems you are the 'Fucktard' to me.

            Apple have forced IPod users to install ITunes, due to their proprietry locked down database system on the IPod. ITunes of course is in turn just a shop front for their rapidly growing music monopoly. If you want any chance of talking to the IPod you have to use the ITunes API...

    3. March Warden

      Re: can someone explain...

      Because Apple is not a monopoly in the desktop market. What control Apple has is over a market sectors not the market itself, it's only when the controlled sectors in total represent domination of the market (which Microsoft has) will anti-trust legislation kick in.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can someone explain why Apple aren't forced to do this as well?

      Because no one cares what software is running on the 16 or so Apple Macs in the country.

  19. Matt_V

    What classification of update is it?

    Just a thought, will this be a critical update (ie passed on through WSUS if that's how you're set up) or one of the "important / recommended" ones?

  20. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Novice users are told... turn automatic updates on to keep their computer safe.

    If you don't know enough to consider that decision, you probably do what you're told.

    A lot of trojans work that way too, of course.

    I'll guess that the outcome of this ballot thing is that many current inexperienced users will install at least one more browser as well as Internet Explorer. Hooray! But on new computer purchases, they'll probably stop at one.

  21. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Will it...

    So after I select Firefox, will it uninstall IE, to stop it being started up in the background and connecting to things / openning holes in my security?

    Otherwise, it's a bit late to save Netscape's ass, which is what the browser wars were all about.

    Could I also request some similar apps such as:

    Choose your browser plugins (automatically uninstalls flash, adobe reader, quicktime...)

    Choose your office application suite (permanantly uninstalls Office 2007 demo and MS Works)

    Choose your media player (automatically uninstalls Media Centre and iTunes)

  22. Samuel Walker

    I wonder

    how many will not realise that there are more choices hidden behind a scroll bar? I'd have enlarged the box so that they could all be listed without scrolling.

  23. Lewis Mettler 1

    first you have to purchase IE

    First you have to purchase IE.

    So the illegal practice continues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Since when did you "have to purchase IE"?

      1. oddie


        To be fair, IE is included in the price of the license, that the OEM that sold you your computer bought from microsoft.

        Unless of course the IE coding team has been working for free for all these years and microsoft has been including it for nothing ;o)

        i believe this is the may be the first time that a car anology actually works with an operating system: its like if ford had 90% of the market selling cars, and they also made tyres; now they are offering you a service where you can change the tyres after you have bought the car, but the car still needs to be bought with ford tyres on it... just because it wasn't itemised when you bought the car doesn't mean that the price of those tyres didn't increase the price of your ford automobile :)

        eh, i guess the anology is still far from perfect :P

        but we have all 'purchased' IE at one point or another (well, most of us).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes, unbundle Windows!

          "i believe this is the may be the first time that a car anology actually works with an operating system"

          Finally, someone who gets it! But rewind...

          "To be fair, IE is included in the price of the license, that the OEM that sold you your computer bought from microsoft."

          But with the vendors insisting that Windows is "part of the computer" or that it "costs nothing" because a bunch of crapware vendors have paid to advertise their shit on your computer, the analogy is easily extended beyond IE to Windows. You'd have Ford saying that "Oh, those Ford-branded Firestone tyres don't cost anything - they're free with the car - because Marlboro have sponsored the interior! So, no, you can't have a refund or choose any other tyres."

          At least with a car there'd be a good reason for it to leave the factory with tyres fitted. With the anticompetitive bundling of operating systems, it's not as if a laptop needs an operating system to be able to slide along the belt at the factory and into its packaging.

  24. Barney Carroll

    Where's the "I want to turn this into a convo about Opera" icon?

    Common guys, let's give 'em what they want: Thank you, Opera, for tabs.

    Back in the present-day: Opera is seriously lagging on standards. Having said that, their implementation of CSS3 counter incrementation is my favourite.

    On topic: The screenshot shows somebody using Internet Explorer to download either Internet Explorer or Not Internet Explorer. I'm sure Opera will have an issue with this (with good cause).

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Possibly the worst of all worlds ...

    I'm surprised MS acquised to this fruitcake scheme ... let's go through it ...

    so an MS update, is going to scare the bejaysus out of the noddy user, and then rely on SOMEONE ELSES software to

    1) be there

    2) install correctly

    3) work

    4) keep on working ...

    that's 4 points where events are totally out of MSs control, that could lead to wasted support issues and general misplaced bad mouthing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A title containing letters and/or digits

      "I'm surprised MS acquised to this fruitcake scheme"

      Oh yes? And how do you think they could have done otherwise?

      You may as well go out and get banned from driving and then say, "I'm not accepting this crackpot driving ban, I'll have to use public transport and that's really inconvenient." What could happen if you chose not to accept the ban and went on driving?

      The EU could have done anything up to and including banning the sale of Windows outright had they not implemented this option. Don't think they'd have done it? Consider that MS were only allowed to go ahead with the sale of Windows 7 in Europe on the grounds that they signed and agreement to implement this "fruitcake scheme". Had MS gone back on that promise they would have been fined more than the profits they would have made from selling Windows 7 in Europe.

      "so an MS update, is going to scare the bejaysus out of the noddy user, and then rely on SOMEONE ELSES software to

      1) be there

      2) install correctly

      3) work

      4) keep on working ..."

      I think you'll find that MS can't even get IE to install correctly, work and keep on working. I've lost count of the number of machines I've had to support where IE8 opens and immediately closes. MS recommend uninstalling and reinstalling IE8 to fix this, but unfortuneately the problem persists. So you trying sticking with IE7, but that does the same. MS recommend uninstalling IE7 when this happens. Hey, guess how often you can't remove IE7. The MS KB article doesn't recommend installing an alternative broswer at this point, but that's what I usually do without even trying uninstalling IE8. There is probably something you can do with the abomination that is the Windows registry

      The funny part is the number of users who don't even realise there is an alternative to IE. "What's a browser?" Being a surprisingly common question when I offer to install an alternative.

      However once they've experienced the alternatives most people don't want to go back to IE.

      However the major argument against your reasoning is that MS would not be in this position had they not abused a dominant position in the OS market. So (a) they don't have a choice and (b) they don't deserve a choice.

    2. John Angelico

      Gee eh, software is supposed to...

      1) be there

      Well, I'll be - software availability?

      2) install correctly

      Wow! what are installers for?

      3) work

      Oh, yeah, force applied over distance, maybe?

      4) keep on working ...

      Persistence, backward compatibility, retention of learned skills

      So what has Windows and IE got going for them?

    3. chris 130

      Simple solution


      just install Firefox and all your nasty Microsoft issues just fail to exist.


    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm surprised MS acquised[sic] to this fruitcake scheme"

      It was their idea and that'd be acquiEsCed...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    to be honest ...

    I couldn't give two ****s about what browser comes with windows. I am much more concerned that many household-name websites - especially ecommerce ones - still refuse to work on anything other than IE .....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Funny that.

      Well I don't know where you go on the web, but I manage to live my online life completely within FF. If I did come across a web site that was not standards compliant I'd refuse to deal with the company anyway, but that's never been an issue.

      The really funny thing is a particular problem I've come accross with a certain website recently. It runs on IIS and due to a particular flag they have set on the server you can't download MS office documents from it using IE, but it works using Firefox. MS acknowledge the problem, but the knowledge base article basically recommends you don't set the particular flag - they can't even be botherd to fix their own crap coding. MS can't even code for their own browser properly, what chance does everybody else have.

      1. Keith Oldham

        Re : Funny that

        Agree entirely - I've only used FF for years - gave up MS years ago so no option ( and certainly no desire ) for IE. I can't remember a site that needs IE .

    2. Ian Moffatt 1

      Well said that (anonymous) man

      Exactly. Far too may sites don't play properly on anything other than IE.

      And what about corporate intranets? We are still on XP (and not likely to change anytime soon) and are tied to IE. We've only just discovered IE7 FFS!

      I'd love to try FF or even Chrome (doesn't seem too shabby) but have to endure IE at work, which reminds me - back tomorrow after a weeks half term holiday. I bet Outlaw will be full of shite emails as well when I log in :-(

      Pint 'cos it's nearly Sun lunchtime \o/

  27. Jamie Kitson


    > Still, it's interesting to note that in Microsoft's posting, Explorer has been discretely pushed to almost the end of the list.

    It is?

    1. 3G


      It's randomised to give no position to any one browser.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    IE8 FTW

    It doesn't matter if these annoying screens pop up. I have used IE all my life and will continue to do so. IE8 with Protected Mode and SmartScreen Filter is the safest browser for Windows 7.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      Hilairious. Brilliant post.

    2. Rattus Rattus

      All I heard

      was "Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Historical Stuff

    I remember when I used to use Microscoffs Internet Exploder to check out a porn site and there would be about a million pop-up adds.

    And of course after the umpteenth time of this happening, I thought "Houston - we have a problem".

    The stupid shits at Microsoft of course did nothing about my complaints... over many many months...

    Typical dead beat corporate types - with their weasel words not matching their efforts and outcomes.

    But Opera, Netscape and the emerging Firefox had POP UP ADD BLOCKING........

    Do you know what it took Microsoft over 5 years after this, to introduce pop up blocking to it's useless piece of shit browser/s.

    AND every great innovation Microsoft has put into it's shit hole browser/s; are all stolen from Firefox and others... and they are all implemented WAY after everyone else has them.

    Microsoft are just fucking deadbeats.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for Chrome I'd imagine...

    Out of those 5 brands, which one is most associated with the internet to the average joe? To these people, "Google" and "internet" is probably heading the same way as "Hoover" and "vacuum cleaner" did.

    Their market share among people like that is sure to be very low, so even if just 1 in 10 decided that Google were the way to go, they'd make huge gains.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bad Analogy

      "To these people, "Google" and "internet" is probably heading the same way as "Hoover" and "vacuum cleaner" did."

      Except that when people use the word "Hoover" to describe a vacuum cleaner they are using it as a generic term, not as a reference to the brand name. You'll often hear people say things like "I've got a Dyson Hoover." So I don't think that the word Hoover in this contect ever really helped their vacuum cleaner sales. If somebody walks into a shop and says "I want one of them Hoovers" pointing at a Panasonic is the sales droid going to try to sell them something with the Hoover brand name on it or the cleaner they asked for?

  31. Tim Jenkins


    "Those users who do not have automatic updates enabled, and who do not manually access updates" don't have to worry; the choice of browser will be made by the controller of the botnet their PC is currently part of...

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Opera all the way.

    Well anyone that asks me what to pick, the answer is pretty clear, Opera. They are working on 10.50 at the moment, and it's the perfect browser (to be honest thou, Opera 10.10 was already pretty perfect). The latest Opera kills Chrome in benchmarks, it's more secure and web standards compliant than Firefox and Safari, and it's looks darn amazing.. it also works in harmony with your phone, whatever make or model it may be, there is a Opera for it.

    Firefox and Chrome may have the marketing edge and minds, but if you want quality and technology as the decider, then it's Opera all the way. All the recent features than the other browsers shout about have been standard Opera innovations for many years. (Tabs, Gestures, Awesome Bars, Speed Dials to name a few)

    If you want to check out the Opera 10.50 beta, it's on the Opera website, or better still help with the beta testing and pickup the latest snapshot at the Opera Desktop Team Blog.

    1. Argh

      Whichever make or model

      Are you sure that Opera is available on iPhone? It wasn't last time I looked, but I could be wrong...

  33. Joe Earl


    So I can expect a similar screen letting me choose my media player when I plug in my iPod?

    Or is Apple exempt from monopolies since their business model seems to rely on crushing consumer choice?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Here we go...

      No. Unlike Microsoft, Apple haven't been found guilty of abusing the dominance of one market to gain control of another illegally you halfwit.

      "Or is Apple exempt from monopolies since their business model seems to rely on crushing consumer choice?" For the love of all things! MONOPOLIES IN THEMSELVES AREN'T ILLEGAL!!! So, do Apple have a monopoly to abuse? That'd be no. They are dominant in the PMP market, sure, but they hover around the 70% share mark, NOT FUCKING 90% and they are not attempting to dominate another market by using that share either! Before any of you cretins mention the iTunes store, which has a reasonably high share of digital downloads, they do not dominate the market as a whole and since a business cannot have a monopoly to abuse on a market segment, iTunes isn't an example of anti-trust. They do not block others from entering this market either. Again, no anti-trust. Fuck me! None of this is rocket science! It has been explained to you Softards literally THOUSANDS of times.

    2. Steve Brooks

      ipod....itunes....icrap, may as well register that trademark as well, its coming!

      "So I can expect a similar screen letting me choose my media player when I plug in my iPod?" What!?! You purchased a piece of hardware linked to a particular piece of software, that's like asking why can't I plug in my kodak camera and have the Panasonic software pop up to interface with it. Talk some sense at least! Don't like itunes, don't buy an ipod, problem solved.

  34. Barno

    Important Update

    Hopefully this will then stop Microsoft flagging IE8 as an important upgrade to my Vista install. I have never fired up IE as Opera was installed as soon as I could.

    I agree with another poster that all PCs should come OS free. It took me ages to get rid of all the crap installed on my lappy from the manufaturer. Its bad enough having Vista on but bastardised versions from each manufacturer means no STANDARD MS install. And yet people moan about the different types of Linux.

    1. leexgx

      not updating IE

      even if you do not use IE8 as your default you should keep it updated

      (opera is my preferred browser due to permanent session muti tab support, chrome for 1080p youtube, bbc i player or any thing flashed based, firefox sucks with flash ram hog, opera with 40-50tabs open uses 500mb of ram after 5hrs norm does not go any higher but thats with 40-50 tabs open with firefox i hate to know what that number be but most likely lose all the open tabs due to an pop up )

  35. Pablo

    Is this nonsese STILL going on?

    Geez, hasn't this browser kerfuffle been going on for over a decade now? I don't understand how, of all the many anticompetitive, anti-consumer acts perpetrated by Microsoft and other tech companies every day, something as trivial as browser choice was selected as the important thing to focus on.

    1. uncredited

      This "nonsense" must go on

      The only reason this "nonsense" is still going on is because of the slow moving beast that the EU judicial system is - Microsoft has dragged this on forever in courts because that tactic usually works, the opposing party just stops bothering and gives up.

      Whether or not this will have any effect on the browser wars remains to be seen and is in fact almost completely irrelevant in this case, this is a case against a large corporation attempting to corner a technology and eliminating competitors, not on merit but by abusing a monopoly.

      By going all the way, the bureaucrats have managed not only to surprise just about everyone but also managed to show Microsoft and bidding monopolies that the costs will be severe if they don't do as the courts tell them from the very start. There is a legal precedence now that this has gone all the way and other similar issues are more likely to end the same way - the next time a big bully corporation might not be so tempted to try the "bind them in court for years" tactic but to settle early on. Far from me being an EU fan but the EU is big enough to keep big companies like Microsoft in court forever and coming out on top when it has the laws on it's side. In the end the only thing companies like this understand is the huge lawyer bill stacking up so that's the only way to really hurt them.

      1. Pablo


        Fair point. Acting horribly slow is better than not acting at all, I guess. So now that they've proved their serious, let's hope they apply that resolve to something that matters.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess it was easy and obvious...

      I know it's not even close to the same level, but of all the violent crime perpetrated by or at the behest of Al Capone, they got him on tax evasion.

    3. SleepyJohnR

      The letters E and U should give you a clue

      The EU, like all self-important, unelected bureaucracies ALWAYS concentrates its efforts on things that are trivial but sound important. It is a lot less trouble than dealing with the real problem, yet it makes them appear to be caring for the peasants they rule over. And the EU would rather those peasants could choose their browser than choose their government.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    I hope...

    That Crapple will have to provide something similar...

    1. Antony 4

      Once again...

      Crap-apple will not have to provide something similar, because they do not have a monoply share of any market.

  37. Waffles666


    I think this is bulllsh**t, i by no means use internet explorer but Microsoft have earned there way into almost everyones computer. Why the hell should they be required to support and advertise other peoples software! If the European Union felt so strongly about this then why do Apple get to use safari as theire default browser. it clearly demonstrates the anti-trust union thirst for money. It's disgusting they get away with this they should be taken to court and sued my Microsoft for this travesty. im sure that they are above the law for their actions.

    1. John Angelico

      You simply don't understand, do you?

      Quote: "Microsoft have earned there (sic) way into almost everyones computer"

      No they have NOT earned their way - they have bullied, abused and cheated their way onto almost everyone's computer and that has been proved in court.

    2. Goat Jam


      "Microsoft have earned there[sic] way into almost everyones computer"

      Oh? How exactly did they "earn" their way onto 95% of the worlds computers?

      When the school bully beats you up to steal your lunch money, did they earn that too?

    3. zanto


      "Microsoft have earned there way ......"

      it's "their" and not "there"

    4. Anonymous Coward

      "...they should be taken to court and sued my Microsoft for this travesty."

      Oh what fucking grounds, genius?! "How dare you punish us for our breaking the law! Do you know who we are?" Idiot...

      Before I carry on; on your keyboard are two (2) buttons with a single outlined arrow pointing up and the word 'Shift' printed on them. Most people that have a reading age of 10 know how this button is used, but for your benefit: to type a single upper-case letter (a 'capital') press and hold down this 'Shift' key and type the letter that you want to be 'capitalised'. It's the standard accepted convention in all modern Latin alphabet based languages and aids comprehension. It is also standard practice to capitalise the names of people, governments, companies and other such entities.

      >"Microsoft have earned there way into almost everyones computer" By using bulling tactics on their OEMs and being generally anit-competitive, hence this case.

      >"Why the hell should they be required to support and advertise other peoples software!" Because they forced their OEMs to ONLY install IE and to not even DARE to install Netscape, thus giving the typical user little choice. They then proceeded to interweave the browser into the OS in a bid to leverage their dominance of the OS market to gain dominance of the browser market. This is called 'anti-trust'. It is unlawful.

      >"If the European Union felt so strongly about this then why do Apple get to use safari as theire default browser?" Because, numb-nuts, Apple aren't guilty of anti-trust. No, the iPhone isn't the same. Besides, Safari can be easily removed COMPLETELY from the OS by putting it in the trash and emptying the trash.

      >"it clearly demonstrates the anti-trust union thirst for money." What. The. Fuck. What is the "anti-trust union"? You really don't understand this at all, do you? What are you? 12!?

      >"im sure that they are above the law for their actions." Trolling much? Idiot...

    5. Wibble

      Polarised opinions

      Interesting how this story strongly polarises opinions.

      It appears that people fall into the "why are the EU meddling in business matters" or "EU stands up to corporate bullying".

      It's good to see that the desktop is considered so important as to warrant EU interference. Lets face it, nobody else has the resources to stand up to Microsoft. Faced with fearsome lobbying, the US government can't stand up to them.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    i don't understand why the EU is making microsoft do this. hopefully it doesn't happen in the usa. anyway somebody has already started a petition to microsoft to not do it:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Internet and idiocy...

      And what does the genius that started this petition propose instead? That Microsoft are ordered to be broken up? That they pay a fine that would make Intel's $1 billion pale into insignificance? You fanboys really need to understand that these are the other options. More importantly, you all need to understand that THIS WAS MICROSOFT'S IDEA TO BEGIN WITH! This was agree by the EU so that Microsoft didn’t have to face any real punative measures. If anything Microsofthave got off lightly! So please, learn that to have a monopoly isn't illegal go and read up on what anti-trust means and the implictions of it. Then realise what your favorite company got away with!

  39. Goat Jam

    To troll or not to troll

    Did you write that inane comment before or after reading the dozen or so other comments explaining why apple don't need to "so similar"?

  40. stucs201

    Would we accept the equivalent from a car manufacturer?


    Consider a comparison.

    Most cars come with a stereo chosen by the car manufacturer. The vast majority of drivers are quite content to continue using the standard stereo until they get rid of the car. Those that want something else for whatever reason (sound quality, brand loyalty, features, etc.) are free to get an alternative fitted.

    Now, it might be nice when buying a new car to be offered the choice of having an alternative fitted (though I suspect most people would still go for the standard one because it fits in with the rest of the dashboard better than a 3rd party one and they couldn't care less about sound quality as long as they can hear it over the engine).

    However, if having owned a car for several months I'd be a bit annoyed if the next time I came to play a CD I found a technician from the manufacturer waiting for me saying "It seems you might not have been aware you can choose to remove the factory stereo and get a different one, so I've removed it for you and you can choose one from this randomly ordered pile that includes your old one somewhere, but I'm not telling you where". Even worse if the technician didn't give me any indication if he was going to program my old radio station presets into the new unit.

  41. heyrick Silver badge

    So long as there's a...

    ..."sod off and leave me alone" button I can press.

    I have Firefox on my initial Start menu and as default browser.

    I have IE8 on QuickLaunch so I can find it without wading through the Start menu structure.

    Firefox is set to remember stuff and be useful.

    IE8 is set to forget most things and apply heavy security options (me? trust IE8? hah!)

    That's how I want it. Nothing more, nothing less.

    [and we shall see how this works out]

    Bootnote: I love the timing. France and Germany are advising people to ditch IE, the UK is merely suggesting an update. Loads of people I know don't even know what the hell IE *is*, just "the internet" (as if email etc is something entirely different!). So now, haha, Microsoft are put in a position to highlight what IE is by showing alternatives with an easy-install option for them. <giggle> You almost feel sorry for them... ALMOST.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Alternative File Managers

    Now we just need more companies to release alternative file managers to replace Explorer and force Microsoft to do the same for them.

    Then, alternative start menus, alternative shell/desktop environments, alternative login managers, alternative text editors...

    What's so special about the browser component?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The proper alternative: unbundle Windows!

      "What's so special about the browser component?"

      Indeed. Let us rephrase your opening remark:

      Now we just need more organisations to release alternative operating systems to replace Windows and force vendors to do the same for them as they do for Microsoft.

      The only way to have proper choice is to unbundle the operating system.

  43. leexgx


    opera is my preferred browser due to permanent session muti tab support with UAC basically cant be compromised unless you download the exe or run opera with admin rights

    is my default browser but only for 1080p youtube, bbc iPlayer or any thing flashed based, or something quick i want to look at but do not want to keep open (like msn/steam clicked link) if i do i copy it and open an new tab in opera

    firefox sucks with flash ram hog, (ie not that far behind), Opera with Flash is jumpy some times even unstable as well with youtube (as why i use Chrome as i can watch 1080p no problem where as the other ones bit jumpy or crashy more adobe fault but, flash seems to work Very well in chome seems to be mutithreded for flash it self as chome uses more then 1 core when playing high Q flash streams)

    opera with 40-50tabs open uses 500mb of ram after 5hrs norm does not go any higher but thats with 40-50 tabs open with firefox i hate to know what that number be but most likely lose all the open tabs due to an pop up

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The Beeb...

    ... is reporting this under the headline "Microsoft debuts browser choice".

    This is about as honest a headline as "Doenitz offers peace".

  45. Adrian Esdaile


    Where's the option for NCSA MOSAIC? Hmmm? And what if I want NETSCAPE? Erwise? Viola?

  46. Jordan Davenport

    Just in case...

    ...that anyone was having trouble reading the URL in the screenshot:

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Great NHS

    Great how to break the NHS systems in one swope since national apps only work on IE7

  48. Select * From Handle
    Thumb Down

    For the Rtards that cant use a computer...

    This whole browser thing is aload of tosh.

    i work in IT and yeah im pro microsoft...

    im not saying i dont like linux OS's or Apple, but microsoft rules the rust when it comes to OS..

    all this browser choice thing is going to do is make my phone ring constant when idiots click on another browser, and then wonder's why their page doesnt display correctly..

    my fav browser is firefox all the way and my opinion is if you dont like I.E. download another browser? its not hard. this program they have added also slows the loading screen of windows "great".

    I.E. is better than all browsers though when it comes to businesses as it can be controlled by AD.

    any of you nay sayers know of a browser you can restrict at logon?

    and my final point.

    where is the browser choice on MAC's and linux? cos i think i would like I.E. instead of that safari noncense.

    at the end of the day the browser choise is their for idiots who dont know how to use PC's just like apple is their for people who cant work windows...

  49. The Infamous Grouse

    Awful implementation

    Politics aside has anyone actually seen this abomination in action? Neither of my Windows 7 machines did anything after the browser ballot installation, possibly because I already have Firefox configured and set to default on both, but my XP VM, upgraded to IE8, presented the screen upon reboot.

    The main window -- rendered by the IE engine of course -- is a plain, black-on-white text only box with a brief and confusing explanation as to what a browser is and a choice between a blue OK hyperlink that the user has to click to reach the actual ballot screen, or a grey 'do it later' button that defers the choice until the next reboot.

    No graphical buttons, in fact no graphical nicities at all. Just a jolting, unexpected text box demanding attention and action. It's horrible. Not only does it look like something IE6 might have displayed back in the mid 1990s when a network connection failed, but the way it operates -- presenting an unexpected block of scary tech talk then asking you to click a blue link to continue -- is exactly the sort of thing we've been trying to teach users to avoid in the fight against malware. Nice one Microsoft.

    And it gets worse. When I experimentally clicked to install Firefox on the subsequent ballot page, the IE downloading window popped up BEHIND the ballot screen before taking focus. The only way I knew something had happened was the extra flashing tab on the taskbar that needed to be clicked in order to bring forward and OK the download dialog. This behaviour may be common knowledge to seasoned IT types but I can immediately think of at least half a dozen friends and family who, upon clicking one of those install buttons, will sit there for an eternity waiting for something to happen.

    This thing is a tech support disaster in the making. I'm almost tempted to believe it's deliberate; create chaos using this badly designed ballot screen, then blame the EU for all the lost productivity. It's that bad.

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